News and events

The lockout

Having never been a clubbing-type disco person, I don’t pretend to know enough about the CBD club 2am lockout to know if it’ll work in reducing alcohol abuse and street violence. But I do know that protesters seem to be making out that it means every night at 2am, people will be kicked out onto the streets, and it’s being painted as a “curfew“.

This is effectively a curfew on adults and will ruin Melbourne’s nightlife.Andrew Stuart, letter in The Age

To wit: how are the people locked out of venues en masse at 2am to get home?Larissa Dubecki, columnist in The Age

What rubbish. How is it a curfew? Why will lots of people need to get home at 2am?

The lockout means at 2am the clubs stop accepting new customers. They don’t close. They don’t kick people out, making them stagger out onto King Street to find their way home. People can stay inside as long as they like.

Surely the three month trial should be tried, to see if it works or not? Preferably with as few exemptions as possible — this is causing concern in some circles — to prove or disprove that it solves what are undeniably serious problems.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

16 replies on “The lockout”

There’s many great arguments against the ban and I would check out For someone who is critical on how bad the government manages our public transport, surely it should come as no surprise as they will bungle/have bungled this up.

There are many bars/clubs/venues that only start to get happening at 3AM and not just in the city. Those venues are effective getting their late night licence taken away.

You ask why do people need to get home at 2AM? When a venue closes and you can not get in anywhere else, what else is there to do other than go home? or crowd at one of the late night food places? How will one get there but via the streets. It’s not the venues that are dangerous but its the underpoliced streets where the fights break out. More bouncers (or sorry..licensed crowd controllers) will not help anything as the violence occurs on the streets.

And let’s see the one place who got the automatic blanket exception…The Crown. What a surprise. A couple of years ago, my friend got mugged and beaten outside of Crown. You can have as many bouncers as you want but the lack of policed areas is the bigger issue. Now this stupid Brumby government is making venues foot the bill, and essential subsititute bouncers as police. As you may have seen in the Herald Sun yesterday, a bouncer kicking a guy on a pavement. Judge, Jury, Executor.

I could go on and on but we are dealing with a government who make sweeping changes without consulting any stakeholders. It was only last week that they wanted to make certain roads clearways…without consulting any business owners or even the councils.

Anyway, love the blog. Keep up the good work.

The bit I don’t get, is the logic jump. No one has been able to explain to me how locking people out of venues will help reduce the amount of supposed violence in the city.

The pollies just keep saying something along the lines of “We have a problem with alcohol fuelled violence in the CBD, and this is on measure that will help to reduce that.”

2am is still plenty of time for people to get tanked. Plus, as you say, it’s not a curfew. They’ll still be able to leave a venue before 2 and wander the streets. If they leave after 2am, many will still do the usual drunken food missions and not go straight home.

Meanwhile, (mostly) sober punters (like me!) who might like to duck out of a club for a snack or some fresh air after 2am will be inconvenienced.

Lockouts have been in Qld (well Townsville anyway) for years. I didn’t go out that often but the number of drongos out didn’t seem to be diminished. Only changes I could see were (1) people drink more, quicker, at home so they are drunker when they go out since they have less time out switching between clubs, and (2) instead of the taxi lineup being huge at 5am, its huge at the lockout time.

I’m not for or against the lockouts, I just don’t understand them.

For instance, in areas like Richmond or South Melbourne, most pub/bars close at 1am cos they are near residential areas. Once these places close, people are turfed out and have the choice of going home, getting food, or going to the next venue. Regardless, they are out on the street.

So what will the lockout achieve other than making those wanting to go out grumpy cos they might not get where they want to be by 2am and are therefore forced to go home. At the end of the day (night?) there are still a very large number of people pushed out into the street between 1am and 2am due to bars closing and the lockout does nothing about this.

I certainly don’t agree that the lockout is going to create all manner of ills, but I fail to see how it will actually help matters.

Regardless of a lockout, you’re still going to have the same people getting just as plastered, and you’re still going to have a number of these volatile elements sharing the same space.

The trouble is not going to stop. At best it may confine more of it to the inside of the clubs rather than the doorways and footpaths.

Are you people really that stupid.

It is not the responsibility of the Government to provide Police to baby-sit drunken hoodlums. It is the responsibility of the citizenry to behave itself, unfortunately they seem to be unable to do so.

I’m not a clubber but it seems logical to me that if you can not get into a club after two o’clock you will not be roaming the streets after two o’clock looking for one. You will either be safely ensconced in your club of choice or be on your way home to sleep it off.

What is so hard to understand? The 2:00am lockout does not mean that people will be turfed out of venues and onto the street at 2:00, it means that anybody on the street at 2:00 may as well go home as they will not be able to get into a club. Patrons will leave clubs at any time after 2:00am when they are ready to go home, and that’s where they will (have to) go.

t seems logical to me, locking people out of clubs will reduce the number of people on the streets, hanging around venues, and will therefore reduce the potential for conflict between intolerant drunken imbeciles.

Clubs that start ‘happening’ at 3:00am will continue to do so with the clientele that they have at 3:00am or they will start ‘happening’ earlier.

But then from people who stand in a queue for an hour to get into an over-crowded, dirty, smelly, noisy bar where you can’t hear the person next to you even though they are shouting and paying the price of a bottle of scotch for a watered down scotch and coke I’m not really surprised.

Sorry Daniel but some people’s attitudes get my goat.

I hear Brumby is proposing a new solution to Drink Driving accidents.
Basically you’re not allow to re-enter a car after 2am.

Sounds workable.

The real issue is a lack of police and too many conglomerations of clubs. We ought to have an extra 3000 police to tame our violent streets (let’s not deny that they are violent) and mandatory breathalysers for all exiting patrons to determine if a taxi needs to be called.

Wow, Nigel, thanks for calling those who are against the ban stupid. Well,I’ve arbitrarily decided that the police should protect all of its citizens except for you. You can’t pick and choose who you want to protect and police. The police have to “police” everyone. They are paid for by the people for all of the people.

Your logic is correct….if the venue locks everyone out and there is a magic transporters to everyone’s house. Unfortunately, everyone has to a) walk to their car b)walk home c)walk to catch the nightrider d) get souvlaki e) get a taxi etc. I suggest you try this. You will have to walk on the street.

But the best kicker is the lockout in areas of the City of Yarra (Carlton, Fitzroy, Collingwood, Richmond, etc). Well, they allow public drinking. So instead of drinking at venues, people will be drinking in the streets, parks etc, where there is no security but hey at least I’m not paying $8 for a beer.

Why are people so easy to discriminate against people who like to go to clubs or have a drink at 3AM or 5AM. So you are a better person if get up at 6AM and go to sleep early. Right.

There will always be violent people. Jackasses are everywhere. Reuben hit it on the head. We need more police. The police are severely understaffed. Stop this nonsense of a Myki system and spend it on protecting your people.


You sound very opinionated for someone who openly states he has no understanding of the subject, or “citizenry” effected by the lockout.

You do realise that “your” society is made up of other people than just your regular 9am-5pm Jack and Joan’s…right?

“Victoria Police provides a 24-hour police service to the Victorian community. Victoria Police contributes to a high quality of life for individuals in the community by ensuring a safe and secure society and underpins the economic, social and cultural well-being of Victoria.”

Living in the CBD, I would rather see a “lock-in”. If you’re still inside a nightclub by 2am, you don’t get to leave until 9. That way, maybe, people who live close to these places will actually be able to enjoy their weekend nights as much as the guys shouting in the streets do.

Wilson, if you want quiet why don’t you move to a residential suburb?

I too live in the city, but unless you were born under a rock, you’d have to be puffing muffins if you moved here to live and thought the weekend nights were going to be quiet.

Which rock were you saying you were from?

I agree with Nigel’s comment people need to take responsibility for their own actions, honestly what’s wrong with growing up a little? But booze/drugs mix will bring out the worst behaviour in the most nicest of people and cloud any good judgement. Days of reckless drinking will be going the way of ciggies it’ll be not okay to get mashed public. IMHO it can’t come quick enough (speaking as an ex binge-drinker). I see that they’re trying to do something until they think of something that may help the situation.

Some of you aren’t getting it – nobody is getting kicked out of anywhere. They are simply being prevented from changing clubs after 2am, if they are in a club they can stay and leave whenever they like to start the walk home/get souvlaki/get taxi cycle.

Explain to me how this will lead to people drinking in public places Neil? I’m trying to get it but I don’t.

Your argument seems to go – “people will want to change clubs so they will leave and not be able to go into a new place” well OK I can see that argument but how will that lead to more people on the street at 2am, does everyone want to change clubs at the same time? If not then there will be a steady stream of people leaving and going home after 2am, which unless I have missed something is what normally happens, lockout or no lockout.

I’ve spoken to a few of my friends who still go clubbing and they don’t get what all the fuss is about either!

We always need more police, no argument here.
Myki is a ridiculous waste of money, no argument here.

But to say the lockout will lead to huge numbers of people on the street at 2am does not make any sense.


OK, I am basing this on a statistical assumption which is the more people on the streets, the more violence/fights. You may or may not agree with that assumption but I think we can agree that the fights and violence occurs on the streets mostly and not in the venues.

You also make the assumption that people will go home if they can’t get into a venue. Based on my experiences people will not go home but will find something to do in the meantime. Something to do could be get some food, have a chat with people in the street, fight, or as I stated in the city of yarra is go to one of the many bottle shops that are open 24 hours and drink legally in public.

If everyone lived in the city then I could see that people would just say, oh well I’ll go home to sleep, have a drink whatever but many people come into the city from the suburbs thus have to catch nightrider or sober up etc.

Now, I’ll put it in a personal perspective for me.

1)I go to a venue that has a closing time at 2AM. Ok fine. I leave the venue and then I can’t go elsewhere due to the lockout. That to me is essentially closing all venues at 2AM.

2)I want to go outside to make a phone call, smoke, eat after 2AM. Can’t get back in to venue.

3) Hurting businesses. Patrons are not allowed to enter between 2-7am. OK, well how about the places that have 24hour licences (Let’s say Tankerville, Nicholson St/Johnston St.). You are potentially cutting off almost 25% of new customers.

4) Doubling security, limiting the amount of patrons, fining businesses will do nothing to prevent fights/violence on the street. I hope we can agree on that. What is will do is add more overhead in running a business which will be passed on to the customer. Now, I shit you not, I had a pint in a bar on Brunswick St recently for $10..$10! In 2002, I could get a pint for $5-6, now its typically $7-8.

I hope you can see my perspective. I also find it interesting that the police thought the first weekend after the lockout was a success. The Age agrees but the Herald Sun paints a different story. Very odd indeed.

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